Boxing Week Sale!

Drop everything and come on down, because we are having an old-fashioned Boxing Week sale! We have cleared off the craft table and filled it with books looking for a good home.

Enlarge for greater delight and more detail on discounts.

Tons of titles are on sale. We're offering steeply discounted novels and nonfiction from Thomas Pynchon, Jonathan Lethem, Miguel Syjuco, William Gibson, and Jonathan Safran Foer. There are graphic novels published by D+Q and Fantagraphics including Stooge Pile, Body World, Bone, and selected titles from Dupuy and Berberian. We've also put selected art books on sale.

The sale is ongoing until Friday, December 31st. We'll be open 11 am to 6 pm this week, and closed Saturday January 1st.

a last minute list of gifts for other people you should actually, really, maybe keep for yourself

These are three of the best (recently published) novels I read this year. Each author plays with the idea of authorship and representation, using letters, interviews or other methods of indirect discourse to create characters that are sometimes neat and sometimes curmudgeon-y. I loved the way each one of these books made me think beyond the extent of the stories they told.

If you want to geek out and have discussions about narrative technique with your literary friends, give them these books, wait till they read them, then find a cozy place with wine, a fireplace and soft music in which to discuss the various ways each novel offers a unique, yet similar, methodology to expose the grit of its subject.

Now, we all, also, have those friends who don't exactly read. For those folks, whose dabbling in books never extends beyond the yearly venture into lierature or non-fiction, here are a few art books that can satisfy you both: you'll feel good about giving them a book, and they'll probably just be happy to receive a gift.

The intense and involved, even overwhelming, color and texture in Olaf Hajek's Flowerhead requires a skilled discernment very similar to that which we use to read.

Here's a look inside:

We now have Diane Arbus' massive book, Revelations. I usually only know artists are big time when I see their bio pic. Nicole Kidman sold me on Arbus in Fur, and now I am a huge fan.

Henry Darger was a certifiably weird guy who toiled as a janitor his whole life, living in seclusion and creating masterpieces in his spare time. After his death, they found his apartment jam-packed with work . The drawings in this book do nothing more than give a us a tiny glimpse of all the outlandish adventures that were probably always going on in his head.

They made a movie about him too.

Shary Boyle has blessed us with a new book. It has two covers and all sorts of good stuff inside. Unlike Otherworld Uprising, this book goes beyond documenting her ceramics and gives us a bit of her installations, drawings and wax work. Essential for any friend who is an artist and wants to know the what's what and who's who of contemporary Canadian art.

Here's a sneak peak inside:

Sharry Boyle is a who and a what. And, though They haven't made a movie about her yet, she still gets heard.

Amber showed me Richard Barnes' Animal Logic and it took me only moments to understand the love she has for it.

I agree with her that this the book's cover belies the awesomeness that lies inside. Here are just a few images of Barnes' explorations into, and experiments with, taxidermy:

We've got Johnny 23!

Smuggled across the border and hand delivered to this very bookstore, 7 copies of Le Dernier Cri's fantastic adaptation of Charles Burns's X'ed Out, Johnny 23! Charles Burns reconfigured his latest comic, changing its dimensions, adding artwork, scripting it in a language of his invention. He sent it to Le Dernier Cri in Marseille. They printed it. And now we have it. Incredible. Super limited quantities. Wow, wow, wow.

Art Of The Brick (or why buy big books)

Everyone knows that big books make you look smart -- it goes without saying. I'd like to point out a few other potential uses for the big books in your life. Not to neglect that they take up more space under the Christmas tree than your ordinary 270 page novel. Just saying, check 'em out:

Lynd Ward's Six Novels In Woodcuts or what we like to call: Doorstop In Six Novels

You could believe this glowing National Post review of the new McSweeney's title The Instructions by Adam Levin, or you could do as we do and use its great girth to reach the top shelf of the kids section.

2666 is a masterpiece and sure, the three-part paperback box-set edition deserves recognition for innovative design. But let's focus on the book's comfyness for a second: Those three squishy paperbacks were MADE to rest your head on.

And finally, you could use a Bible to get rid of your ganglion (as explained here) or, you could use Anne Carson's latest book NOX to cure you of what ails you.

**Blog authors note: No books were hurt in the making of this post. No disrespect was intended toward these books, their publishers or their creators. I do not sleep on the job (hence the open eyes). These are some of my honest-to-god favorite books, don't hate me!

McSweeney's Love

With the year coming to a close it's time to check in on our McSweeney's altar and thank McSweeney himself for making such lovely things we can worship (and that's just a few of the McS's-related posts I dug up!). Here it is, lookin' fine:

And check out this magnificent stack of McSweeney's titles released this year:

Can we also take a moment to appreciate the McSweeney's Quarterly? One of our best-selling titles in early 2010 was the San Francisco Panorama, a.k.a. McSweeney's 33 - a Sunday newspaper with comics by Chris Ware and Alison Bechdel and Daniel Clowes and writing from George Saunders and Junot Diaz and Michael Chabon and William T. Vollman and so many others. Although less flashy with their awesomeness, McSweeney's 34 and 35 are equally wonderful, reviewing McSweeney's history, providing insights into life on the ground in Iraq, and making available the best in short and not-so-short fiction.

Plus: McSweeney's 36 (coming soon!) is guaranteed to be so so awesome. Don't believe my repetitive use of positive adjectives? Am I hyping it up too much? You be the judge:

Finally, let me talk your ear (eye?) off a little longer. It is right to draw their fur by Dave Eggers is just about the most charming gift I can imagine, both whimsical and lovely, combining philosophy and art and lolwombats.

Who can resist a sage cow who offers that "you will never have a successful long-distance relationship" or the sphinx cat who is "Pyrrhic at best"? Personally, I appreciate that Dave Eggers chose writing over drawing, if only for What is the What, but gosh am I ever glad that he's still doing the occasional sketch or two (or fifty).

Anyway, all this to say: thanks Mr. Eggers and the people at 826 and the people at the Believer and everyone even remotely involved in McSweeney's (including our awesome McSweeney's rep, Adam, who sent us the best book promo ever, a pennygun, which Rory and I had a great afternoon shooting around the bookstore).

Florence, Armi & Vera

Oh sure, I know what you all say about me. "Does this woman only talk about her kids and/or comics?" And yeah, that's pretty much true. But if you knew me, really knew me, then you would know that I have a mild obsession with mid-century female patternists-cum-entrepreneurs. "Huh, what do you say?" And I say yes.

When the store first opened, we sold quite a few of this gorgeous book to the right, Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret & Extraordinary Lives, the biography of the fascinating Australian wallpaper designer. I ate this one up. We also used to have the one to the left in stock and sold a bunch of Marimekko: Fabric Fashion Architecture. The founder of Marimekko, Armi Ratia, was one of the most famous female businesswomen in Finland, and her brand today is known all around the world and oft-copied. (Do you hear me Ikea?!)

Why am I bringing up old books we no longer have in stock? Is this some of sort of retail Jedi mind trick? Well, it's because I want to bring up this book, Vera: The Life and Times of an Icon. Now see I had no idea that I've secretly been collecting the work of a icon for over two decades.
I collect silk scarves, and one of the vintage brands that I often come across is Vera. I really honestly never gave it a second thought even though I have a drawer stuffed with them and my heart skips a beat whenever I find one at a sally ann's. Then lo and behold, this fall when surfing the internet I came across this book, and my jaw dropped. Vera Neumann is another mid-century designer/entrepreneur. An actual person, not just a signature font on a scarf. Apparently, she designed everything from bedding to wallpaper and clothes. "Vera" was one of the most popular brands of the 60s.

So if Hollywood is listening, I think a Mad Men episode is in order where Don Draper meets Lilly Pulitzer.

Coco, no Rococo

Justine Picardie is the newest biographer to take on the life and legacy of 20th century fashion icon Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel. Coco Chanel: The Legend and Life purports to be the most complete and authoritative account of the notoriously guarded fashion designer. While I can't judge that claim yet, I believe that Picardie (critically acclaimed memoirist, fiction writer and former features director of British Vogue) has both the talent and resources to write an exceptional biography of Chanel. The edition has a healthy balance of text and images, because we need to see how Chanel fundamentally changed women's wear in the 20th century; popularizing traditional menswear, the "Little Black Dress", boucle, jersey, the Breton shirt...

Holiday Hours 2010

Hi there all you last minute shoppers. Over here at the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, we feel your pain (and sometimes partake of it too - I'll be spending much of tomorrow frantically trying to avoid burning myself or cookies or myself with cookies).

That's why we will be open this week for extended hours.

Monday December 20: 10 am to 10 pm
Tuesday December 21: 10 am to 10 pm

Wednesday December 22: 10 am to 10 pm
Thursday December 23: 10 am to 10 pm
Friday December 24: 10 am to 6 pm

Unfortunately, we'll be taking a little pause after that, and we will be closed December 25th.

Then we're back on track for December 26th. Come visit! If they're not all burnt, there might be some cookies in the next few days.

Lesbian National Parks and Services

Founded in 1997, The Lesbian National Parks and Services is a super art project created by Canadian artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan. The projects consists of art perfomances, videos, and this insanely detailed and elaborate field book: Field Guide to North America: Flora, Fauna & Survival Skills.

Rangers Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan

They state their goal as intending to "insert a lesbian presence into the landscape...challenging the general public’s ideas of tourism, recreation, and the “natural” environment." BUT! The way they do it is just really funny, and goofy, and smart. With chapters like 'Comportment in the Bush', 'Keeping Wet', and 'What and Whom to Eat,' Dempsey and Millan successfully merge lesbian fun with the natural world.

Take, for example, their section on The Nine-Banded Armadillo: "This, the stone-butch of lesbian mammals, covers its vulnerability with a rough, bony armour. Its soft belly and tender heart, however, remain vulnerable to predators (primarily coyotes and peccaries) and it wisely retreats into a familiar hole or thorny bush when threatened. (Unlike its South American cousins, the North American Armadillo cannot curl itself into a ball.)"

Plus! Winnipeg artist Daniel Barrow, winner of the 2010 Sobey Art Award, does all the illustrations!

Alerte aux petits livres rares et uniques

Tout le monde aime les objets uniques, tout le monde aime Zviane (oui) et tout le monde aime Valium (oui oui).

Tout le monde doit donc aimer les livres de Zviane et d'Henriette Valium reliés à la main -et avec amour, par Yves Millet, propriétaire de feu Fichtre!, la légendaire librairie montréalaise spécialisée en BD.

Le gros Valium n'est pas relié par Yves, c'est un livre publié par l'Association - je voulais juste vous rappeler qu'il est sublime et que je l'adore...

!Top Five!

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan:

Definitely one of my favourite novels of the year. I went into the book super sceptically and left absolutelycompletelyoverwhelmingly won over. A book about music, relationships, perceptions, and time (along with so much more), Egan's writing is smart and engaging. You can read my blog post on the book from earlier this year.

Seasons by Blexbolex

If you're enjoying all of the NoBrow Press books that we currently carry (and how could you not!), then I dare you not to enjoy Seasons by Blexbolex, published by Enchanted Lion Books. Blexbolex is one of NoBrow's frequent contributors, as his bright screenprinted style mixes well with their aesthetic. With bold type and bold colours, the illustrations by Blexbolex depict scenes of the changing seasons. The scenes are super charming and warm and make me yearn for seasons past. The images of winter make the frigidness of this time of year much more tolerable.

The Wrong Place by Brecht Evens:

Lately, I have been a complete sucker for watercolor imagery. The romanticism and lightness of the medium just makes me so darned happy. Published by D+Q, The Wrong Place illustrates a magical and brightly coloured world that makes me swoon every time. It's been mentioned already by Fiona, but D+Q's The Native Trees of Canada by Leanne Shapton is another book full of watercolor amazingness.

SSSS: Snake Art and Allegory by Gita Wolf and Ianna Andréadis:

I don't think I've ever come across a book from Tara Books that I didn't immediately fall in love with, and SSSS is definitely no exception. SSSS is just so beautiful. Each illustration is individually screeprinted! The images, the words, and the overall design and care put into the book is, again, beautiful. Check out this video on how they make their books.

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman:

Oh Maira. She has put out yet another wonderful book of stories, thoughts, winsome drawings, and photographs. Originally an online column for the New York Times, Kalman illustrates her wonder and curiosity of American history. I'm absolutely in love with Kalman's style--looking at her kooky drawings makes me forever giddy and delighted. P.S. You should also check out (un)fashion, a project she worked on with her late husband Tibor Kalman. It's a bit of a twist of stret fashion, showing the variety and inventiveness of people's dress from around the world.

Other favourites from the year (because I struggle to stay within five):
Nox by Anne Carson (previously mentioned by Rory)
A Long Piece of String by William Wondriska (originally published in 1963, and republished this year--one of my favourite children books out in 2010. The imagery is so beautiful).
Inferno by Eileen Myles (Described as a poet's novel, check out our past post on Inferno)

On how I gave my paycheck back to my employers

Who are you buying for this holiday season? My list is long and varied. Lucky for you, no one on it reads the blog (that I know of...) which means that I can share my very well considered picks with you. Maybe it'll give you some ideas for the cool mom or the womanizer on your list...

The Cool Mom
For the professor with a proclivity for profanity, Keith Richard's brand new memoir Life.

The Geek Dad
Daddy Duncan is getting a signed copy of Zero History, the newest novel from the "noir prophet" of cyberpunk science fiction, William Gibson (bonus: there's a character named Fiona it in).

The "I'm in 3 bands" Little Brother
Two Christmases ago, he unwrapped New Yorker music critic Alex Ross's The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. This year he will unwrap Ross's newest book, Listen To This, a collection of essays on music that aims to "approach music not as a self-sufficient sphere but as a way of knowing the world."

The Republican American Grandparents
My first thought was Maira Kalman's new release And The Pursuit of Happiness. Then I found out that And The Pursuit of Happiness is divided into 12 parts, one for each month of the year in which Barack Obama took office, with the first, “The Inauguration. At Last,” apparently unabashedly exuberant. So, nope.

Avoiding politics, Denys Wortman's New York is a better bet; it's put out by Drawn & Quarterly (so they can see the excellent work my employers do) and it's gorgeous (judgments of beauty possess universal validity!).

The Socialist Canadian Grandmother
The more reasoned side of my gene pool deserves And The Pursuit of Happiness... with a side of Leanne Shapton's The Native Trees of Canada.

The Fashion Stylist BFF
(Un)Fashion by Tibor and Maira Kalman. It's the anti-fashion picture book of costume and dress.

The Architect
Chris Ware's Lint: ACME Novelty Library Volume 20 because Ware is the master architect of the comics form.

The Cat Loving Illustrator
I Like Cats, a gallery of kitties from some of the best-known tribal and folk artists of India.

The Womanizer
Last but not least, for the Jungian lady lover, a visual reference of anima, Women: A Pictorial Archive From Ninteenth-Century Sources.

A very merry bookworm Christmas to all!

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